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International Repercussions of Trump’s Inauguration

It first occurred to me just how influential Donald Trump had become in Europe when I visited for three months toward the end of 2016. It happened while waiting for the public transportation train in London, in the crowded, sweaty halls of what many call “the tube.” As I desperately searched for a place to rest my gaze without unconsciously staring someone down, I laid eyes upon an ad for a burger chain restaurant, “Rump Burgers.” The ad displayed a picture of a hamburger with the bold caption “Vote Rump.” This, I recognized, was clearly an allusion to the “Vote Trump” slogan in the United States.

I began to notice more Donald Trump references all throughout northern Europe. In Iceland, I was greeted by a bookstore in Reykjavik with a display of books written by Donald Trump. Hillary’s were displayed at the back of the store. The Netherlands portrays a unique amount of Donald Trump influence. The source of this sparked interest in Trump in the Dutch country is attributed to a Dutch politician by the name of Geert Wilders. Because European media is so focused on Trump, I hesitated when reading into the many comparisons between Donald Trump and the much less publicized Wilders. I saw many differences between the two. However as an American amongst a country of Dutch, interestingly enough, I seemed to be the only one who felt that way.

However, the United States is not the only country feeling the repercussions of our new president. This election in the U.S. has sparked a  phenomenon amongst politicians in European countries—specifically, the Netherlands.

Robert DeHoog, a professional young actor for Toneelgroep Amsterdam, describes Geert Wilders as the “Donald Trump of the Netherlands.” While still being a right wing liberal politician, Wilders has been criticized recently, due to his ideas on Islam similar to those of Donald Trump. It seems as if Trump’s presence in the media has led to this popular comparison to Wilders. However, when examining other statements and issues more closely, one will find that the two politicians are actually generally opposing.

The Netherlands is a Dutch speaking, majorly liberal nation. Some refer to it as the country in which almost everything is legal. These policies in the Netherlands mainly come from a cultural standpoint. This has generated much tourism within the last few years. From 2000 to 2014, tourism in Amsterdam alone has increased by 1.9 million people. The population has not only been affected by tourism in recent years but has also increased by the acquisition of an assumed 60,000 refugees within the last year. Many politicians have formulated opinions on the refugee crisis, Geert Wilders being one of them.

The Dutch politician and Party of Freedom founder stated in an interview: “The EU leaves us no freedom to determine our own immigration and asylum laws. That’s why leaving the EU is necessary.” Though he is politically a more left-wing politician, Wilders has still been compared to Trump because of his ideas on the Islamic countries, religions and refugee crises.

Because of the effects that accompanied Trump throughout his campaign, his opinions and ideals are extremely well known by many. Perhaps this is what generated the comparison between Trump and Wilders. Wilders’ views are unique within the EU countries. DeHoog explained, “It is interesting to see that other politicians feel this way.” Gathering from DeHoog, Trump became popular in the Netherlands because of his ideals. They were familiar, and they were viewed as the same as Wilders’. But do not be fooled, for these two politicians are quite different.

Donald Trump was the Republican candidate for the United States 2016 presidential election. Geert Wilders is a liberal politician. This is a major difference between the two white, older men. While both may seem to speak about the same issue, their concerns are very different. Trump forms his policies around terrorism and religion, whereas Geert forms them around the Quran and from ideas of space within the country.

There were many aspects about Hillary’s campaign that resembled those of the Netherlands’ current policies. Wilders has not openly spoken about Hillary Clinton’s policies, but he has spoken out against policies of the Netherlands. Rather than targeting the government directly, as Trump targeted Hillary, Wilders strives to win over more citizens. Their approaches towards opposition are very different.

The last place I would expect to see influenced by Donald Trump is the thriving liberal city of Amsterdam. However, after engaging in conversations with many Dutch locals, I now realize that there are more politicians that portray seemingly similar characteristics to Trump. However, I have yet to come across a politician vulgar and influential enough to compare to the antics of Donald Trump, not even the anti-Islam advocate, Wilders.

I'm Mel, a hockey playing, musical performing, cat lover from Connecticut. An aspiring broadcast journalist, I hope to post content that captures the essence of emerson, while also encouraging others to make differences within their community.
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